What You Might Not Have Noticed About The Price Of Wings Before The Super Bowl

With the Super Bowl just around the corner, we're guessing you are about to (or might have already) put in an order for chicken wings – either cooked from your favorite restaurant or uncooked if you're thinking about making them yourself. If you haven't really delved into the chicken wing situation yet, we've got good news and bad news. The good news is supermarkets say they are ready for the surge in demand, so there isn't — nor will there be — a wing shortage as the big day draws near. And the bad news? As Top Super of the National Chicken Council tells Restaurant Business Online: "Like almost anything else you buy right now, wings might be a little more expensive, but they'll be stocked."

By "a little", ABC news says you should expect to pay up to $3 more than you did last year — which is about how much an eight-piece order of chicken wings went up by if you ordered from your favorite restaurant. By contrast, if you're looking to cook the wings yourself, you'd probably expect to pay upwards of a dollar more per pound (via ABC). 

High chicken wing prices are being supported by a number of factors

The National Chicken Council says chicken wings are being hit by the same problems that other commodities have experienced during the coronavirus pandemic-driven supply chain breakdown: labor shortages and high demand. Tom Super says: "Demand for chicken wings has been through the roof since the beginning of the pandemic. A shift from sit-down restaurants to takeout and quick service has boosted chicken wing consumption." (via Restaurant Business Online). 

Then there is the high price of feed ingredients, thanks to droughts that have hit corn-growing areas in 2021. As writer Dan Emery pointed out in The National Provisioner, "feed ingredients are more than 50% of our cost"– so if feed prices go up because of bad weather, livestock and poultry prices go up, too.

Chicken wing specialists like Wingstop and Atomic Wings have tried to get around this by getting their customers interested in chicken thighs, which are flavorful and less costly. But if wings are your thing, you'll either have to bite the bullet and pay higher prices, or get guests to bring them in as part of a potluck. Cost notwithstanding, chicken industry executives are expecting America to devour about 1.42 billion wings come game day (via ABC) — and we're betting you and your guests aren't going to miss out.